Good-bye to early Sundays and collection baskets

By Gina Peracchia
November 13, 2003

Steph Mangold

Each person in my family was baptized Catholic, but that doesn’t mean we all practice Catholicism.

I’ve been going to Catholic school since I was five years old. I’m now 20. I was just like every other Catholic school kid growing up. I went to “first Friday” mass with my class, memorized the Act of Contrition while waiting in line for confession, went to mass every Sunday, and said every response on que while staring off into space thinking about what I was going to do that day.

After awhile, being a Catholic lost all meaning to me. My mom was asked personal and distasteful questions while at confession when I was younger and it questioned what I thought about priests. Our parish monsignor constantly made the congregation at mass feel guilty for not giving enough money to the church, and that same monsignor threw a chair at an eighth grader at the grade school next to the church. This did not seem too “catholic” to me.

Years ago when it was first coming out that priests were molesting young children, it made me think that if a priest can’t be trusted, than who can? And why should I keep listening to people who tell me to respect and love others as God would when some of those same people are out scarring the lives of young, innocent children? It sounds a little contradicting to me. Anyone else agree? I thought so.

I’ve got to be honest with you. The only reason I’m still a Catholic is because I want to be married in the Catholic Church. Everyone in my family has been married in the Catholic Church, and I feel I should also. Plus, I don’t feel my mom would agree to have my wedding any other way. Other than that, I have no other valid reason to practice my religion. I never go to mass anymore, I stopped going to confession after grade school, and I do not agree with some of their teachings.

My parents told me in high school that when I turned 18 I could convert to a different religion if I felt the need to do so. This confused me, because they sent me to a Catholic grade school, a private, Catholic, all-girl school, and I was soon to be going to a Catholic college.

I asked why they wasted their money sending me to Catholic schools for over 10 years if they were eventually going to give me the option of changing my religion. They had no answer. They felt that it was an unspoken rule they had to follow, because their parents sent them to Catholic schools as well. It was just natural in our family, mostly because we’re Italian, to go to a Catholic school. It has nothing to do with pride associated with being Catholic.

Speaking of rules, that’s what I think of when someone asks me about Catholicism. I tell them it’s a bunch of man-made rules. Who says we have to go sit in a building every Sunday and listen to a guy tell us the same stories over and over again with the same homily that is mostly their opinion? And how do I know Jesus is that stale piece of bread? Why can’t I just pray to God on my own? I know I have that option, but why is it a rule to go to church every Sunday? I know I’m not going to hell, so you can rule out that answer. I’m sure God didn’t say, “Hmm. I think I’ll make a rule that forces people to worship me even if they don’t want to. As long as they’re half asleep and singing hymns that sound like that should be played at funerals and funerals only, then I’m happy!”

I’m not trying to turn people off on Catholicism. These are just my opinions and experiences. I know plenty of people who have had the most positive experiences being Catholic. Unfortunately, I have no been so lucky, but at the same time I will admit that I’m a skeptic. It killed me when I heard that Adam and Eve weren’t real people. Note the sarcasm please.

In the end, I will keep on questioning my religion until I see that it has made an actual positive effect and impact on my life. Until then, I’ll talk to God on my own time and follow my own

Posted to the web by Steph Mangold

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Gina Peracchia

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